News Coronavirus NSW gains ground against COVID: 485 fresh infections, two deaths

NSW gains ground against COVID: 485 fresh infections, two deaths

Queensland COVID-19
Queensland has recorded 5699 new COVID-19 cases in the latest reporting period. Photo: AAP
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NSW has recorded 485 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths, as the number of daily cases drops below 500.

Some 90,804 tests were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Saturday, while the double-dose vaccination rate of those aged over 16 in NSW has reached 93.1 per cent.

The state on Saturday recorded the highest number of cases since October 9, two days before lockdown lifted, and the second in a row with more than 500 cases.

As of Saturday evening, 156 people were in hospital with the virus, 23 of them in intensive care.

Genomic testing into additional Omicron cases continues with the state tally up to 45 as of Saturday.

The wait time to receive a COVID-19 booster will be cut from six months to five in a bid to combat the spread of the new variant.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt says data from Israel shows booster jabs lead to reductions in infection rates and deaths.

Meanwhile, health authorities remain concerned festive season celebrations are driving the spike in cases, and are urging caution.

“Clearly we have seen a number of outbreaks recently across Sydney,” NSW Health’s Dr John Hall said on Saturday.

“We reiterate just how important it is for people to not attend social functions if they have any symptoms, even if mild.”

NSW Health is already battling to contain several large transmission events.

A trivia night at a Sydney pub sparked a new cluster of cases, with at least 46 patrons testing positive to the virus after attending the Oxford Tavern in Petersham on November 30.

Authorities are also concerned about 140 passengers who embarked on a Sydney Harbour cruise earlier in the month which has so far resulted in at least five cases of the Omicron variant.